As the crackdown on independent media in Belarus continues for a third consecutive year, the state of journalism in the country is dire. With only a handful of independent journalists remaining within the country working anonymously, and 32 of their colleagues behind bars, the future of journalism in Belarus looks bleak. The Fix analysed the state of Belarusian independent media at the end of 2022 – and tried to find bright spots.
The number of journalists jailed around the world set yet another record in 2022. In a year marked by conflict and repression, authoritarian leaders doubled down on their criminalization of independent reporting, deploying increasing cruelty to stifle dissenting voices and undermine press freedom.
A criminal case was filed against former journalist Larysa Shchyrakova for allegedly discrediting Belarus (Article 369-1 of the Criminal Code), RFE/RL Belarus reports.
Belarusian authorities should publicly disclose the reason for former Belsat TV journalist Larysa Shchyrakova’s arrest or release her immediately, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday.
Former journalist Larysa Shchyrakova has been in Homel temporary detention center for three days now, and her minor son Sviataslau was found in a repair for children in the settlement of Biarozki in Homel District. This is just 1.5 km away from his home.
The Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs recognized Vesniki, "a group of citizens united on social media and distributing regional printed publications" as an extremist formation.
“Belarus has become one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.” Interview with Jeanne Cavelier representing Reporters Without Borders
In the World Press Freedom Index, Belarus ranks 153 out of 180. In terms of the number of journalists in detention, it is one of the five countries with the worst situation in the world. Both rankings are based on the findings of Reporters Without Borders. In an interview with BAJ, Jeanne Cavelier, head of this NGO’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Desk, shared how the situation in Belarus is currently assessed.
Dzmitry Luksha, a former Belarusian TV journalist and freelance correspondent for Kazakhstan’s Khabar 24 TV channel, was sentenced by Minsk City Court to 4 years in prison. His wife Palina Palavinka will spend 2.5 years behind bars.
On 6 December, the Supreme Court of Belarus considered the appeal filed by Iryna Slaunikava’s lawyers challenging the decision of the Homel Regional Court. In a closed session, the court denied the re-examination of the case or remission of her sentence (five years of imprisonment).
The publication is missing from the Belarusian post catalog for the first half of 2023. There will be no print or electronic PDF version of the newspaper during this period, the editorial office told @pozirkonline.